Homeopathy Papers

Questions Patients Ask part 3 – On Dosing, Potency and Antidoting

Homeopath Elaine Lewis fields the age-old questions of what potency to give and how often.

Mike: Hi Elaine, I’ve got some questions for you.  I ordered the 200C professional kit that you recommended (I have a 50-remedy 30C Emergency Kit from Washington Homeopathics already). Now, how can you tell when a 30C is necessary and when a 200C is a better option?

Elaine:  Quite frankly, in acute cases, I am often surprised at how well the 30C works!  Sometimes I’ve said to myself, “Oh no, you only have a 30C?” and then, lo and behold, it worked after all! 

I have also encountered cases that I thought merited a 200C, and it aggravated (meaning I should have used the 30C!)  But the rule, I guess, would be that you should think of the 200C when the case seems really serious; for instance, one time I was loading groceries into my car when the trunk lid fell down on my head!  I actually saw stars!  I hurried into the front seat of the car and took out my Arnica 200C!  In five minutes, I was perfectly fine and drove off! 

Then incredibly, on another occasion, I was once again loading groceries into my car when, once again, the trunk lid fell down on my head!  It was a different car, the trunk lid wasn’t as heavy, so I decided to take Arnica 30C and got the same good result!   So it’s all a matter of severity, which potency you choose. 

Generally speaking, you can start your acute case off with 30C with the idea that if you get no reaction or only a weak reaction, you can always go up to the 200C if needed.  Here’s what I tell people as a general rule:  30C three times a day for three days, in a half-filled bottle of water with 5 succussions before each dose, BUT, always remember: a striking improvement means stop dosing for as long as the improvement lasts, an aggravation means stop dosing, and as you get better, take less and less often but be prepared to increase your dosing if you find yourself losing ground.  If the improvement is slow, take more often, and if the case is stalling, raise the potency by “plussing” your bottle.  I will explain that later.

Once you DO get a result, that result helps you determine what to do next!  A good, strong, positive, undeniable result means: don’t do anything!  Just wait; and as soon as that positive result starts slipping backwards, then redose!

If you achieve only a modest result, continue with regular dosing at intervals until it moves on to the striking, positive result mentioned before.  Then you can stop and wait and repeat at the first sign of relapse.  

“How do I make a water potency?” you might ask.  Drop a few pellets–or even just one– of your remedy in a small, half-filled, bottle of water so you can succuss (bang the bottom of the bottle into your opposite palm five-or-so times.  I always do 10, but that’s because I am not hypersensitive to remedies.  Some people are very hypersensitive and should probably just do 2 succussions.)  Anyway, you do this before each dose.  You also have the option of dropping your pellet into a disposable cup of water and stir with a plastic spoon or a straw before each dose. 

You should use disposable-everything when working with remedies.  Remedies stick to whatever you put them in or on.  So, you don’t want to stir with a regular spoon and then use that same spoon for your soup or cereal.  You’d just be passing the remedy on to whatever or who ever eats with it next.  I found this out the hard way.  A friend who didn’t know what was wrong with her finally figured out that she was proving her remedy!  It was in an ordinary glass.  So she dumped it out and washed the glass with dishwasher soap and water, and it was tantamount to getting another dose because she got an aggravation all over again! 

Now, if her remedy had been in a plastic water bottle, she would simply have thrown it out!  This is why I do not want you using the good glassware and good spoons!  Everything should be disposable.

Now, back to dosing.  I read a case once of snake bite and the patient was in a coma, and the remedy that cured was Lachesis, but, it didn’t work until the practitioner got up to 10M!  He had tried the 200C, the 1M….Luckily, he kept going and didn’t give up!  So, that goes to show that the potency needed is all relative to how seriously ill or injured the patient is!

The other thing is, how long has the patient been sick?  If the patient has been sick for two weeks, I wouldn’t expect one dose of a 30C to resolve the case.  It just seems unlikely.  I would be thinking of three or four doses a day for three days and maybe by then, or before that, you’ll see improvement; but, one dose of a 200C might possibly work all by itself, and usually one dose of that potency is enough.  If people are telling you to take a 200C over and over again, I would be very suspicious of their “credentials”!  One dose of a 200C should do something, unless the case is very severe as with the snake bite. 

In any case, give it and wait a decent interval.  For the average acute, like a virus, one dose of a 200C ought to give some kind of result pretty quickly if it’s the right remedy!  And like I said, once you do get a result, it guides you in terms of what to do next!  If you’re sure of your remedy, and you gave a 200C, and got no result, and you waited an hour, then you can try a 1M.  Of course, it depends on what’s wrong too!  In a life or death situation, you’d expect to see an immediate response to the remedy.  If you don’t get one, give a higher potency within 10 minutes or less. 

Mike: When are the Big Boys appropriate (the M potencies)?

Elaine: Hmm….One time Shana had an awful virus that was going around kindergarten and it looked like some kind of deadly tropical disease (I hate kindergarten!): stuporous sleeping, waking up to vomit bright yellow mucus, then falling back into a stuporous sleep and having this repeat itself again and again; and I tried numerous remedies like Gelsemium and Ipecac, etc., getting nowhere.  

Finally, I correctly selected Kali bic (of all things) based on the color of the mucus: bright yellow!  All I had was Kali bic 10M!  So I gave it with some trepidation, but it cured instantly!!!  Do you know what that means?  10M was the exact potency I needed, meaning the virus was very severe!  But then, I can remember giving Shana a 200C of Colocynth  for stomach pains once after eating spicy food and it aggravated!   So, it’s all relative, and you may be just guessing a lot of the time!  Obviously, in the latter case, I should have given a 30C; but luckily, for these mistakes–and we ARE going to make mistakes — we have (ta-da!) the Aggravation Zapper!!!!! 

Here’s how the aggravation zapper works (here’s what I did):

I put one pellet of Colocynth 200C in a medium-sized disposable cup of water, stood at the sink with the cold water on, dumped out the cup, refilled with cold water, dumped it out, refilled, dumped out, refilled (no, the pellet doesn’t have to melt or stay in the cup!) ….I did this dumping out and refilling 10 times and gave her a sip of the 10th cup, and wham!  Aggravation gone!  All she was left with was amelioration!  

So, if you make a mistake in potency, you can do something about it!  Now, when Shana relapsed, which she did, I gave her another sip from the 10th cup (which I saved) after stirring it with a straw; and again….. total amelioration with no aggravation.  I mean, why go back to the 200C pellets when you knew they aggravated the first time!  So, yes, this is called “case management”; it’s all the tricks you have at your disposal to keep the case moving! 

Mike: Where are LM’s more appropriate?

Elaine:  In chronic cases usually, but most people don’t have them because they’re so much more expensive and you have to order them, as they’re not in the stores usually.  Starting a chronic case with 6C in water, three times a day (always succuss before each dose) is just as good a place to start as with LM/1.  Or, you could do 9C twice a day or 12C once a day.  This is a STARTING point, mind you.  The potency will surely have to be raised down the line, as the body will get used to it (“tolerate” it) and will stop responding.  When this happens, get the next potency; for instance, if you’re on 12C and it stopped working, buy the 15C or make the 15C simply by “plussing” your bottle.  Remember we talked about “Plussing”?  Plussing means pouring out 90% of your bottle, refilling half way with water (not tap water), succussing 40 times, repeating that process 2 more times, and there you are at 15C.)

I finally move on to LM/1 when the patient keeps relapsing, doesn’t make progress, it’s usually a chronic case, and I figure now it’s time to move on to LM potencies.

Mike: I was under the impression that 9 times out of 10, LM was the way to go but…it seems it’s more complex than that.  Does the spectrum change for infants?

Elaine: First of all, it never hurts to give an LM!  They will work just fine no matter what!  It’s just a matter of practicality.  You may come down with a Gelsemium flu, and what’s the likelihood that you’ve got Gelsemium LM/1 there?  But you’ve probably got Gelsemium 200C.  And that will most likely work just fine. 

I would apply the same rules for infants.  For example, if a child was teething, with anger and inconsolable crying, I would start with Chamomilla 30C, one dose in water, and I would expect that to work right away–the more acute and the more recent a complaint is, the faster the remedy is going to work; but if it didn’t work, I might try the 200C if I was sure the symptoms matched Chamomilla.

Mike: I actually have a couple books on this subject, but it would be nice to have a real live human explain this in different terms.

Elaine: I’ll see if I can find one.

Mike:  I know it’s a bit broad, but I’ll take whatever you’re handing out.

Elaine: Would you like to see Shana do her impression of Paul Lynde?  Hello!!!  Where did everybody go?




Michael Reynolds, OMD
[email protected]




Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

[email protected]


About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at:
https://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org


  • It is said “Matter is indestructible”. An empty/dried cup or spoon that was used for homeopathic medicine still contains the “matter”. Dosing is perhaps the most complex application that compounds the number of remedies in homeopathy; unlike allopathy where limited no. of anti-biotics, analgaesics, etc. are available.
    Dr. Nash says he normally prescribes in 200c potency but then everyone is not Dr. Nash!

  • Good and informative write-up. I want some article on Urticaria, mainly caused because of food allergy.

  • This is truly a very important article as there is a confusion in the minds of most about potency . The thing that is new in this write up is using the same cup after washing which removes the aggravation and also repeat attack … Thanks for this write up.

  • interesting. but i just have the CH measure(Beirut-Lebanon) with no idea about the equivalents of M LM…etc. anyhow often i use 9CH to escape the confusion, often it works. i go to high potencies in cases of chronic or psych-physio cases. plz. i dont know how i can more acurate.thnx a lot. we need such articles all the way.tnx.

  • “CH” and “C” mean the same thing. It seems that in Europe they use the CH. H stands for Hahnemann. Your comment about going to high potencies for mental problems and chronic cases? You should actually do just the opposite. For chronic cases, you should start with 6C three times a day, in water, with five succussions before each dose. The high potencies are best reserved for acutes. Why? Because acutes come on suddenly with much force and need to be met with an equally forceful potency of a remedy. Potency = power. It’s how strong the medicine is. Chronic cases of long standing have lost their power. The symptoms are often tolerable, not intolerable the way acute symptoms often are. Consequently, chronic symptoms require less force from the remedy. Better to have moderate force over a long period of time than sudden force given only once. It’s a little unrealistic to think that one big punch is going to knock out a condition that’s been around for a long time. Regarding mental cases, same thing applies. Is it a chronic mental case or an acute mental case? If it’s acute–like a sudden shock or fright or bad news–give a 200C or 1M or even a 10M depending on the severity.

    • Great question, Barbara. If you read Aphorisms 246-249 of Hahnemann’s Organon of Medicine, you will see him state clearly that the exact same potency of a remedy is not to be given twice, let alone many times over. He needs for you to make the remedy stronger every time you dose. The only way to do that is by dropping a remedy pellet into a half-filled bottle of water and “succussing” 5 or 10 times before each dose. The remedy has to get stronger because your virus, or whatever you’re treating, is fighting to stay alive! You have to keep pace with it by making your remedy stronger and stronger each time. At some point you may have to go literally to a higher potency, like from a 30 to 200C because your 30 will no longer have the strength required to bring down the fever or stop the cough, etc. So, the salient point I’m trying to make here, is that diseases do not go away willingly or quietly. They fight back. And we have to be constantly monitoring our potency to make sure it’s holding up.

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